Reviewed by: Ben Mudek

While I certainly applaud any independent filmmakers for making a go of it, this supernatural Civil War era revenge tale ended up being a pretty mixed bag. The cinematography is excellent. (Like, mind bogglingly beautiful.) Both the visuals and the music edited together do a wonderful job of establishing an eerie mood. The performance of the girl who portrays the main character is amazing. Unfortunately, that is probably the best this movie has to offer. The rest is kind of “meh”. It’s not terrible by any means, however, nothing really jumped out at me as being all that engaging either. It just seems to be an assemblage of ideas that don’t have any thought out reasons for being there other than they were “cool”.

So, the story begins with a band of confederate soldiers who are lost in the woods during the cold winter, hungry and desperate for food. They come across a small home with a mother and her daughters. They send one of their soldiers in to get food. The family gives them what they can spare, but when the soldier brings the food back to his buddies, they collectively deem it to be too little, and promptly kill the guy by hanging him. Why? I don’t know. The movie doesn’t tell us. Then they go back to the household and kill the family, minus the youngest daughter who is out cutting wood.

The rest of the story is about the girl tracking the killers and taking her revenge. The caveat being – she has help. The guy that was murdered and hung comes back to life – for what reason is lacking as much as the reason he was killed: There isn’t one. Was it a magic spell? Prophecy? Or “just because”? The movie seems to have gone with “just because”.

There are several places in the movie where it appears that they were trying to create mystery, but in instead just created confusion. They girl is helped by an old lady at one point, who follows her around for a bit for no apparent reason (Then ends up turning her in to the authorities for a reward). At one point the young girl declares one particular soldier the “leader” and there is a climactic scene of her and her undead partner killing him, except this “leader” never actually did anything that would remotely imply that he was in charge. All of the soldiers seemed to be randomly acting on their own and as they please.

At the end we are left with one final mystery – which is to decide whether this girl acted alone and the resurrected soldier was a figment of her imagination, or was he real? The implication is he was imagined, but there is no way in hell that I believe a 12 year old girl was able to kill several grown men by herself. She wasn’t simply shooting them from a distance here, but physically over powering them, gutting them with axes etc. So in the end we just have confusion at what was happening – not mystery. While the authorities who interrogate her don’t believe her tale of a soldier-come-back-to-life, they also don’t even for a second come to the conclusion that she must have had help from someone. Nope, she did it alone – which is not even remotely believable.

The filmmakers who created this certainly show potential to grow and become great filmmakers. Like I said, the cinematography is clearly the strong point (I could honestly just watch the cutaway shots of this guy’s lens and be perfectly satisfied – it’s that good). The performance of the girl was well done. She has a wonderful tone of objective indifference about her, while at the same time portraying the bottled up emotional hatred that is probably welling up inside her due to the death of her family. This little indie film is a good effort, and I hope the filmmakers take some lessons from this and apply it in the future to make some truly great cinema.

RATING: C+

Find The Hatred on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0785WBKHD

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